Perhaps I am not in the mindset to write this. Perhaps this is an article to be written tomorrow. Or perhaps this story needs to be told.
For the past two seasons, Lebron James has brought the Cleveland Cavaliers to a top seed in the playoffs. For two seasons now, we have been eliminated before our time. We were beaten by a rising Magic team last year, then an aging Celtics team this year.
The pain that Cleveland now feels, in what was meant to be the attempt to end all attempts in reaching a title, is hard to speak of. After all, we're used to this. We're used to pain, disappointment, but even though we know it's coming, it hurts. We see our superior team crumble before a team we had no business losing to, and we search for answers amongst the pain.
Yet, the reaction I feel, and the reaction others seem to feel in Cleveland, isn't anger. It's not pain, and it's only some disappointment. Instead, the reaction just feels oddly.. cool. Maybe it has not sunk in yet, but me and others just don't have that much in the way of feelings towards this.
Maybe it was watching Lebron play like a man on a mission. Unfortunately, it was the wrong mission. He hit a triple double, and that's all well and good. But nine turnovers? In the playoff game of your life? It hurts. It's very tempting to shoulder the blame on Lebron, as we were still in it until late, in spite of his performance, which I don't think the stats can really show.
No, Lebron's not the one to blame, as tempting as it is. Blaming Antawn Jamison's 2-10 shooting is much easier. Blaming not letting Z take any shots is much easier. Blaming the coach is much easier.
Sure, one can blame the Cavaliers' performance on anyone for any game, but the fact of the matter is the Cavs were beat. Rajon Rondo had a spectacular series, and Cleveland had no answer to him. They couldn't defend the pick-and-roll, they couldn't take advantage of the Celtics' foul trouble, and they couldn't keep the Celtics in check. If they held one down, two others would light up the scoreboard.
We're all waiting for a solution for the Cavs now, right? How do we fix this for next year? What do we tweak to get past the Celtics and the Magic, let alone the Lakers? Well... the time for that was last year.
I can't stress this enough, but unless you're a Clevelander, you can't really understand how significant this series was. What if the 1948 World Series decided whether Bob Feller signed with the Yankees in 1949 or remained an Indian, for example (fake example used to prove a point)? It's on that kind of level.
Still, one adjective I have not heard once from anybody about this loss is shock. Cleveland seemed to acknowledge that this could very likely happen. We've been disappointed so many times we practically feed on it. Are we not meant to have a championship? Is Lebron not the leader we thought he could be? What happens to the team if, god forbid, he takes off?
These questions will be answered when we cross that bridge. For now, it's a day of bereavement in Cleveland. What will become of Lebron, Shaq, Z, and others is a matter for another time.
Perhaps this made little sense to you. Perhaps this didn't answer the burning questions of went wrong. But these are the thoughts of a Cleveland fan, one who has seen this story before, and perhaps one has to have the mind of a Clevelander, of maybe someone from Buffalo, to understand. When the disappointment hits those it hasn't, it will be painful. Still, Elway, Byner, Mesa, and others are curse words around here. Could Rondo be added to the list, or even Lebron himself? Time will tell. For now, I will keep to myself as the playoffs continue without my team, wondering where it all went wrong for us, again...